Of course, you’re scared.
“Will you please stop running?”
Well, no, (I didn’t think that 10-year-old me needed that type of negativity in my life. To be frank, I just couldn’t stop myself. I would run if it had pleased me to. It didn’t matter if I was in school, in a mall, or at a funeral. As a child, I couldn’t sit still even if my life depended on it. I often attributed it to my childlike curiosity. I was a free bird, liberated by the notion of infinity. At that age, I had assumed Nike’s advertising tagline - Just Do It - as my mantra and lived without inhibition. No thought was left unexplored, the same way no dream remained as one.
Like any kid, I pursued my dreams aggressively. I was good at one thing and one thing only, and so I let it consume my life. I visualised a sporting future ahead, and so the work was laid out; all I had to do was follow it. For five days a week, I left my best on the court. I touched every baseline, jumped every hurdle, even snuck in that odd extra rep. I made sure to not leave any room for anyone to say that I hadn’t done enough. Enough? What was enough? As it turned out, the path was not as clear as I had thought. No one told me that the road up was riddled with setbacks. Later, I find out that injuries do more damage to your drive than to your physical health. Two years of it’s-not-for-yous and there’s-always-something-elses later, the dream, along with my youthful exuberance, died.
Fret not! Because like any teenager with a rebellious streak, I dusted myself off and dreamed again. This time, it involved pursuing an impossible love that had doom written all over - I wanted to try my hand at film. After binge-watching award-winning short films one cool night in the promise of September, I fell in love with the form and was convinced I had what it takes. Within the month, I picked up a camera, a boom mic, and four other believers willing to ride along. And ride, we did. We lived alongside our projects for months at a time, telling stories I never imagined would see the light of day. Of course, this story had to have its pipe dream ending. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this. I would be off on holiday in the Bahamas with my Golden Palm from the south of France shining on the sunbed next to me. Turns out, sending your films to festivals for grants would only do one of two things: you either earn the grant, or more likely, your confidence falters with every rejection.
I am done. I refuse to try anymore. What does it mean to try if it means to have hopes high and quiet belief, violently fall to burst any idea of a dream I had left. No, what am I doing? I can’t say this.
Onward, I dream. Cautiously, as the world in my head begins to unravel.
Throughout my tenure in life, I’ve been told to set goals and aim for them. I hated it. I hated how everyone relished the glory of success, but no one bothered to specify how shattering it was to fall short. And then they tell you to shrug it off and say these things happen. Of course, I know that these things happen. These things happen, but no one told me how to feel. If it’s any consolation, let me tell you how it feels.
Run. Never feel comfortable with stasis because it misrepresents. It assumes a calm front; familiar and unchanging. That is when it should feel the most unsettling. Fall a thousand times if you have to. Just know that somewhere between your best successes and your biggest disappointments lies the fine line of simply trying; so try.
You will have to grit your teeth through some of it.
You will not know if the bruises are worth the fall.
You are going to suffer.
You are going to want to die.
Of course, you’re scared. But then again, emotions demand experience. You can only celebrate the highest of highs after enduring unforgiving lows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should be running all the time. Some days, you could walk. Others, jog. The key is to keep moving. Test your limits while knowing your limitations. And when it feels like the brink is upon you, release. Most importantly, learn to acknowledge tomorrow not as a consequence of the failures of today, but as an opportunity to go again. So if anyone in your life insists for you to come to a complete stop, politely raise your hand to them and firmly declare:) I will not.